Monday, June 17, 2013

After the Flood

No, there hasn't been a flood; I'm just being hyperbolic in my post title. The process of selling and buying a house, and moving the family, the cats, and all our stuff to a new state has felt kind of Noachian at times. (I just read a book in which I learned a new word, "Noachian", and I've been dying to use it somewhere. You like it?)

But we did it! We are here, in our new-to-us home, and it really was worth all the effort and misery of getting here. We are loving the house, the neighborhood, and the Oregonian scenery and culture. We are well settled in (a few things to do yet, but not much and the urgency is gone), and even the cats are happy.

Part of the view from our deck.

I didn't expect to have much time for anything fun until we reached this point in the unpacking-and-settling-in process, and to a large degree I was right. There've been a lot of seven-day-weeks of 14 hours a day of hard work: building and moving furniture, shifting boxes around, and all the rest. (Factoid: we bought something like 20 bookshelves for the library, the game collection, and our offices! We let Ikea build most of them but we built a fair number ourselves.) But we did make time at least for "scheduled events", like seeing Helen's folks on a fairly regular basis, hosting Nat when he could come up from UCSC, and going to boardgame nights at the Lucky Labrador in Portland.

And also music. This was a surprise, and a very pleasant and rather heady one. I was sad (and still am) to leave all my friends in the Bay Area jazz circles, and I was worried about finding places to play up here. I thought I might find myself a bit stranded, since nobody here would know me. But quite a few of my Bay Area friends are known up here, and they did an absolutely amazing job of introducing me to the Portland, Salem, and Eugene trad jazz scenes. Within a week of the move I had made some friends and had a place to go and jam every Tuesday night (Libbies in Milwaukie, if you're ever in the neighborhood). Three Sundays in every month I can go to one of the monthly jazz club sessions and do more jamming; I did so and made still more friends. These people have been incredibly warm and welcoming, not just about jam sessions but even inviting us to parties and such.

Within weeks, friends and jamming led to some actual paying gigs. And then I was asked to play a couple of gigs with the excellent Black Swan Classic Jazz Band, one of the finest groups in Oregon. When those went well, I was accepted as a member of the group, a very happy moment for me. We just played a concert in Tacoma, and I'm looking forward to going with them to the Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival in Penticton, B.C., Canada in September. So thanks to my friends old and new, my worries about music have been groundless: I'm busier than ever, and having tons of fun.

All that was leading up to the present, when we are finally finding some time to "do as we please". I've resumed working on Solitaire Till Dawn after an enforced hiatus of half a year, and last night we finally got around to watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which had the ill grace to hit the theatres shortly after we became too busy to even think about going to see it. I've even owned the Blu-ray for weeks, but only now have had the time and the home theatre setup (thanks, Helen!) to watch it.

In other news, Nat did stop and visit us this past weekend, en route to Pune, India where he will be taking a summer course at the University of Pune, the "Oxford of the East"! Pune is near the west coast of India. As I write, Nat's actually in Mumbai, waiting for a bus to take him and the other students in his group to Pune. We're looking forward to hearing about his experiences when he returns in the fall.


Kaye said...

Glad to hear that you have moved to "God's Country"! I've been over half the world and came home to Oregon from San Jose in 2000! Welcome. Enjoy your new home and the jazz scene here in the Portland area. Say hello to your mom from me - Kaye, from MacCamp.

Webmaster said...

As a native Oregonian, I just wanted to say welcome to our state. I have found it very refreshing to be able to go to the beach or mountains easily.